Raise your hand if you are sick of reading Cosmo and trying to figure out how to push past all these frogs to find Prince Charming. Anyone? I know it can’t be just me. We spend all of this time weeding through the ones who are still in love with their exes or constitute walking around Shopko as a date. Then when we find a halfway decent date, we find out that the game has only just begun. Wait, aren’t we trying to avoid playing games, you say. I carefully chose that word, because when you follow the “rules” of dating, you are playing along.
1. Don’t text back right away.
Wouldn’t want to seem too eager, now, would we? For most of us our phones are like another limb; they are always with us. Clearly we all have lives. We spend time with friends, we work and go to school. But if someone texts you, and you are available to text this person back, why do you have to fret over how much time is appropriate to wait before responding to a text back? Will this person really think that you don’t have a life if sometimes you text them back in a timely manner?
2. Don’t appear too interested.
You probably shouldn’t say I love you on the second date. However, acting too indifferent can come off as completely uninterested, and you don’t want that either.
Related: The Ethics of Crushes
3. Appear busy on the first date that they suggest to go out, whether or not you are actually busy.
This is almost the same thing as not texting back right away. It is basically supposed to show that you have a life. So again, if the first date that they suggest works for you, why wait?
4. Don’t let things get too physical too fast.
This one is a good idea–to a point. When is too soon for the physical part of a relationship? Can you kiss on the first date? Perhaps, a hug is appropriate at first. Should you follow Sex and the City‘s 3rd date rule? It’s one thing if the guy only wants to meet up later in the night instead of going on an actual date. But the connection is either there or not. There is no magic formula for how quickly a relationship should progress. You just have to go at a pace that is comfortable for you–remember that.
5. Be mysterious.
I’m not saying you should tell your whole life story before the breadsticks hit the table. But this is dating, not detective work.
6. Know something about what he is interested–but don’t know too much. You don’t want to end up in the Bro Zone, after all.
This one is ridiculous. Do you guys know what the Bro Zone is? Is it even a thing? It is supposed to be the girl version of getting “friend zoned”, which I think is a completely ridiculous concept in the first place.
Related: First Dates: Expectations VS Reality
7. Don’t be too picky.
Sometimes people act like if only you weren’t looking for this one specific thing you wouldn’t be single. But looking for a guy who flosses and actually goes to school is not picky–it’s called having standards. Don’t feel bad about that. Similarly, it can be easy to think you are into someone just because they like you. It doesn’t have to be that way. Make sure that you find someone that you are genuinely interested in and picture a relationship with before jumping into anything.
The point is stop playing the game. Make up your own rules, and stop stressing over all of the little details. When you really click with someone these things shouldn’t matter. If you spend all of your time thinking about everything before you do it, you will find yourself trying to be someone you are not. And you will be dating people for all the wrong reasons.